Presentation of Lithuanian photography at the MO Museum, Vilnius

A major new photo exhibition at the MO Modern Art Museum in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius examines how the festivities help people cope with change.

The MO Modern Art Museum in Vilnius, designed by Daniel Libeskind, has unveiled a new photographic exhibition titled Celebrate for Change, which analyzes the theme of celebration.

The exhibit claims that we participate in state, ideological or religious, mass or personal celebrations, but also asks how often do we think about their significance?

The works of Lithuanian photographers and contemporary artists of different generations in the MO Museum and other collections exhibit one of the most characteristic features of Lithuanian photography – celebration.

“We have one of the largest collections of photographs in Lithuania, so we found it interesting to analyze it through the prism of the festivities,” explains MO museum director Milda Ivanauskienė.

“The exhibit focuses on the changes we experience during celebrations and the changes brought about by celebrations. So while we still live in “pandemic mode” – in a time of transition and transformation – the broad interpretation of celebrations and their ability to inspire change becomes even more relevant. “

Celebration: Personal, political, religious

The Celebrate for Change exhibition takes an unconventional look at celebration. It depicts weddings, midsummer celebrations, independence days, birthdays. What do all of these events have in common?

“All celebrations share one common trait: they either help us experience change, or they themselves encourage that change to happen. It does not matter whether these changes occur in our personal lives or in our countries, their structure always remains the same ”, explains the curator of the exhibition, Tomas Pabedinskas.

“First we break away from the old way of being, then we go through a period of transition until we finally establish a new identity. Celebration can serve as resistance to restrictive political systems, social structures, and cultural norms. During the celebrations, we also create new principles of public life and shed traditional behavioral norms or social roles. “

Photograph and take pictures

And how is photography involved in celebrations and social processes?

Photography immortalizes the festivities but is also part of it. The ritual of photography establishes relationships between the participants of the celebration, and the photography seems to guarantee their durability.

The photograph often determines the form of the celebration itself, the appearance and behavior of its participants, and the celebration is transformed into a “photogenic” performance.

“This exhibition is the first attempt in Lithuania to examine the celebrations from such a broad perspective – what, how and why we celebrate, and how the celebration is captured in photography. We analyze the celebrations while connecting different directions and stages in the development of Lithuanian photography.

“At the same time, we aim to expand the concept of celebration. In this respect, the exhibition is unique in the Lithuanian context, ”adds exhibition co-curator Ugnė Paberžytė.

The Celebrate for Change exhibition will run until February 2022. Photos by Rytis Seskaitis, courtesy of MO Modern Art Museum / Go Vilnius.

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